Guided By Noises: Dayton Music You Should Listen To

Dayton music you should listen to: Dayton Funk edition

By Vivienne Machi and Libby Ballengee

Guided By Noises: Dayton Music You Should Listen To
Guided By Noises creators Vivienne Machi and Libby Ballengee. Contributed photos.

Cold weather be damned; we're getting funky in February.

It's always a good time to celebrate the Dayton music scene's much-acclaimed funk legacy. But for Black History Month, we chose to take a a concerted step away from our typical rock-oriented playlists and really dig deep into some more bass-rolicking, brass-heavy, funktastic jams. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, southwestern Ohio became a hotbed for a whole host of funk bands, and west Dayton in particular was home to many extremely talented musicians and performers who are still touring today. Their lasting contributions to the funk genre are ones we cherish and are proud to represent in our city.

This month, we came up with the perfect mix to banish the winter blues and bring your energy back up, that signature groove that you just can't get away from building up the heat. It's just what we need to get through these last few weeks of winter, and take pride in just one of our city's African-American legacies. 

Don’t miss out on your weekend shows: Check in with the Dayton Music Insider.

“Fantastic Voyage”
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Lakeside is a funk/boogie band that was loosely formed in 1969, on the cusp of the funk boom in Dayton. It wasn’t until the late '70s and early '80s that this group really hit its stride with the hit song “Fantastic Voyage.” The song hit #1 on the Billboard R&B charts, propelling the band into the national spotlight for the rest of the 1980s.

I was familiar with “Fantastic Voyage”, but had not put together that the band hailed from my hometown. Digging into these bands and history of funk has been a fun journey! This song is a classic, showcasing the band’s love of costumes, a good groove, and an ample amount of lead singers. It’s a feel-good song that will have you wanting to take a slippity-slide! -LB

The Ohio Players: Sweet Sticky Thing
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Do you really need an introduction to these funk masters? Though my first encounter with The Ohio Players was in 2003’s The Italian Job when “Fire” played as Mos Def’s character blew up a toilet bomb in his school bathroom, since then I’ve developed a huge respect for these funk giants.
And no song of theirs, in my opinion, blends jazz, blues, soul, and of course funk in such a seamless, perfect way as “Sweet Sticky Thing.” That sax solo throughout by Clarence Satchell. That guitar solo and soaring vocals by Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner. That beat (which drummer James “Diamond” Williams is rocking while singing in this live version – insane). It’s got it all. Take a listen and just try not to groove at your desk. -VM

Slave: "Slide"
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The funk band Slave formed in the mid-'70s in Dayton, and quickly had a hit single with their song “Slide.” They were known for their use of electric trumpet, fat bass licks, and soaring vocals. They had more hits in the early '80s, enjoying the funk heyday with other bands from the Dayton area.

"Slide” starts off subtle, with those smooth singers, then breaks into those funky horns and a masterful guitar shredding bridge. Compared with other funk bands, I’m quite impressed with their instrumentation and knack for arrangement. -LB

Platypus: "Running From Love"

It’s a travesty that Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page dedicated to this unique and fabulous Dayton band. The former members of Platypus have said in interviews that they thought their band name was apropos because they had been largely interested in the rock and roll and progressive rock side of music, but growing up African-American in Dayton, they had been immersed in jazz and R&B in their homes. They identified their particular blend of music genres with the platypus being a blend of several animals.

I dig “Running From Love” because I can especially imagine just how easily this song could become a powerhouse prog rock anthem, which is a testament both to Platypus’ great musical talents and just how similar jazz, rock, funk and metal can be once you get past the surface. Seriously, you could drop that guitar solo over a Rush song and it would sound seamless. - VM

Zapp & Roger:
“I Can Make You Dance”
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Zapp, featuring the tumultuous Troutman family from the Hamilton area, spent a great deal of time practicing and performing in Dayton. They found early success collaborating with Bootsy Collins and George Clinton. They had one of the longest career of the area funk bands, and surviving members continue to perform to this day.

 “I Can Make You Dance” will certainly do just that, with an infectious beat, and featuring the talk-box that was Roger Troutman’s trademark instrument. Their version of funk was heavily influenced by the emerging electronic sound of the 80’s. This video is extra special as it features scenes filmed in Dayton! -LB

Let us know what you’re listening to! 
Tweet us: @DaytonVivi and @LibbyBallengee

Whenever possible, we highly encourage checking your local music/record store for Dayton musicians’ releases. Support your bands, support your businesses. Call Omega Music, Toxic Beauty Records and Poster Gallery,  Play It Again Music,  Game Swap Kettering  and Disc Exchange to see what they have in stock.

Want more local music suggestions? Check out our past Guided By Noises columns.